Take Pride in America Enjoys a Great Week

Take Pride in America Enjoys a Great Week!

Washington, DC (September 24, 2004) - Take Pride in America was on display in Washington as summer ended in the Nation’s Capital. Nearly one hundred national award winners and friends from across the country arrived on Monday, September 20, for a tour of monuments and other special places. The group, plus Take Pride in America Executive Director Marti Allbright, was then honored by Unilever and the Take Pride in America Partners Council at a reception held in the White House Visitor Center. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and USA Freedom Corps Director Desiree Sayle were among the VIPs who gathered to celebrate the work of the award winners and the progress Take Pride has made since its rebirth less than 18 months before.

On Tuesday, September 21, Interior’s rooftop was filled with federal officials, representatives of Take Pride Charter Partners and honorees for the 2004 Take Pride in America National Awards Program. Although absent because of a family emergency, returning national spokesperson Clint Eastwood played a role in the ceremony with a special video message which made clear his passion about public lands and the Take Pride in America program. Twenty-five awards were presented to individuals, organizations and agencies for extraordinary volunteer efforts. The full listing of awards can be found at www.takepride.gov. Secretary Norton, Director Sayle and Executive Director Allbright took an active role in the presentations, joined by National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner John Keys and other key federal officials. Many of the award winners later traveled to Capitol Hill to share news of their good work with Members of Congress.

Wednesday was a day for planning and coordination, and representatives of key federal agencies and departments and Take Pride Charter Partner leaders spent much of the day reviewing goals, accomplishments and future opportunities. The group noted that all 50 governors and a large delegation of Members of Congress are now actively engaged in Take Pride, that more than three dozen communities have become Take Pride cities pledged to host multiple public lands volunteer events annually, that the program had enjoyed national media attention and been featured at high profile events such as the Tournament of Roses parade and had a remarkable success in the Take Pride in America Volunteer Guide, being distributed to one million volunteers and offering both thanks and rewards. The general excitement expressed and the specific commitments made at the strategy session left all of the representatives enthused about 2005 and beyond. A new volunteer solicitation brochure, expansion of partnership efforts with major corporations such as The Walt Disney Company, Unilever and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and state-level Take Pride awards are expected to highlight the coming year. The participants also agreed to activate the Take Pride Partners Council for 2005, with leading Partners meeting to encourage and coordinate cooperative efforts under the Take Pride banner. The Council will be chaired by Derrick Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition, and may include honorary membership by key governmental agencies active in Take Pride.